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Latest crazy fair fare: A whole stick of fried butter

Iowa State Fair

What makes butter better? Batter.

That, at least, is the theory behind the latest crazy fare to come out during summer fair season: Deep-fried butter on a stick.

As reported by KCCI NewsChannel 8 in Des Moines, Iowa, the cholesterol-laden treat is being offered at the Iowa State Fair, which starts today. Fair vendor Larry Fyfe takes a stick of butter (1/8-pound), impales it on a stick, dips it in batter laced with cinnamon and honey, deep-fries it, and then drizzles a sugary glaze on top. This shouldn't be confused with the deep-fried butter balls that came out during the Texas State Fair in 2009 (proving that not everything is bigger in Texas).

All that goodness costs a mere $4 -- plus maybe a year or three off your life expectancy. (Consult your doctor. On second thought, don't.)

Courageous KCCI correspondent Eric Hanson took a bite of the battered butter for his report. "I can't think of anything crazier I've ever had to eat for work," he told TODAY.com. "There's no doubt that was the unhealthiest assignment I've ever been given."

But how did it taste? "It wasn't as gross-tasting as I expected," Hanson told us. "I envisioned 'raw' butter, but it really tasted like really buttery and really messy french toast."

Gourmands that we are here at the Bites desk, we inquired what kind of wine Hanson might recommend with deep-fried butter. "I don't think most folks bellying up to the Fyfe's stand are going to be wine connoisseurs," he replied. "But the main Bud tent is right across the street. And maybe even that's too classy for the butter stick."

With all respect to Hanson, that may be a bit unfair to the fair fare. After all, the artery-clogging delicacy was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Butter Cow -- a life-size cow sculpture carved each year for the Iowa State Fair. (Norma Lyon, who carved the cow every year since 1960, earning enough fame to appear on TODAY and "The Tonight Show," passed away in June at the age of 81.)

"I haven't had my cholesterol checked for a few years, but I'm pretty sure I could feel it rising with each bite," Hanson told TODAY.com. "I only ate about half of it. By then, my shorts were coated with butter drips, and I wanted to live."

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